Cancel Canada Day: Marches protesting Indigenous injustice planned in multiple cities

Cancel Canada Day: Marches protesting Indigenous injustice planned in multiple cities
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TORONTO -- Indigenous activists across the country will mark a day of mourning during peaceful Cancel Canada Day marches, aimed at shedding light on injustices experienced in their community.

Led by Indigenous rights group Idle No More, the Cancel Canada Day protests will honour Indigenous, Black, migrant, women and trans lives lost.

We will not celebrate the ongoing genocide within Canada against Indigenous people, reads a statement posted to the organizations website.

We will use our voices for MMIWG2S, child welfare, birth alerts, forced sterilization, police [and] RCMP brutality, and all of the injustices we face.

Local events are planned in Vancouver, Saskatoon, Halifax, and Hamilton, Ont., in addition to a live broadcast held by Idle No More.

Canada Day comes this year amid inflamed conversations surrounding police brutality against Indigenous communities, recent protests by the Wetsuweten Nation against pipelines, and accusations of systemic racism in health-care system in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many say celebrations including Canada Day, Victoria Day and St-Jean-Baptiste Day are symbols of colonialism.

We have many names for our sacred lands and Canada is not one of them, says a video posted to the . We dont celebrate Canada Day for the same reason we dont celebrate the Holocaust. Look at all we lost for Canada to become what it is.

Speaking to CTV News Channel Wednesday, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde admits that Canada has a long way to go in achieving equality for Indigenous peoples, but urged the community to embrace a positive message of hope.

There is a huge divide that must be closed, and we can only close that divide by working together and have kindness and love and respect for each other as human beings, he said.

Bellegarde adds that Canadians Indigenous communities should be recognized for the many contributions they have made to the country.

Weve come through a lot of hardships, theres no question, he said. Weve come through the Indian Act and the residential schools. But were still here, and were still getting stronger.

Bellegarde is among top Indigenous leaders who have called for systemic change in policing following the deaths of two Indigenous community members at the hands of police last month.

He says there is no denying that systemic racism and discrimination exists in Canada.

You cant deny that there is systemic racism and systemic discrimination in all systems, whether it be the health care system, the justice system, the educational system. But in order to deal with it you have to acknowledge that it exists, Bellegarde said.

We need more and more First Nations people around decision making tables... once you get more people around those decision-making tables we see ourselves in the system and that will lead to better legislation and better policy moving forward.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the ongoing conversation of racism during his Canada Day address Wednesday.

Canadas success is because of its people. People who strive to live up to our shared values of peace, equality, and compassion, and know that diversity is our strength, he said.

People who know that, only together, we can build a better country, where every senior has a safe place to live, and where we say no to racism, injustice, and hate. A country where we understand that our work to ensure everyone has an equal and fair chance at success is never finished.
Read more on CTVnews
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